Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Joseph, Ants, and Meme Stability, part 3

Perennial parthenogytes and sired sisters of a common brood, the worker ant seems the most unlikely entity to be influenced by sexual/natural selection. The complexity of ant society, though, depends on the ability of each individual worker to predictably participate in structurally-stabilizing societal routines.


The colony is disturbed. Three fingers wrap around the underside of a flat sandstone, exposing a brood of ant larva. Within seconds open-jawed ants, mandibles spread for the pinch, pour out of covert caverns in numbers and with movement that is startling to the unsuspecting toddler. Soon a dozen ants cling to his fingers, a dozen more dart up his hand, and dozens more rush to the site of the disturbance. In the shadow of the stone can be seen dozens more ants carrying the uncovered pupae and larva to underground safety. A parent wipes the ants off of the toddler's hand and several ants dye in the process.


How did the ants mobilize so quickly? Was there a sub-perceivable siren like a war trumpet calling the colony to action? A similar ability to communicate is evidenced in ant trails.


Notice an ant trail. Often ending at a choice item of caloric density, the ants closely follow a narrow trail--sometimes single file. Try this at home: find an ant trail, locate an open spot between ants on the trail, rub a finger or a napkin over the gap with enough friction as to spread a hypothetical grease smudge. Now observe. The ants will arrive at this gap in the trail and stop. They will veer away from the direction of the trail, trying to pick up where it resumes. Ants on both sides--coming and going--will do this until eventually the trail is reestablished. This process may take several minutes.


Why is it that ants are able to follow a trail so closely? What do the above portraits show? Ants are efficient communicators. Many ant species use hormone-rich liquids to communicate. A disturbed ant disperses an aqueous alarm. The receptor ants pass along the liquid alarm--often depositing the liquid on the ground for passerby ants to pick up the message. Similarly, an ant scout discovers a sugary spill on the sidewalk. She makes her way quickly back to the colony while she unnoticeably deposits a liquid trail, Hansel style, to direct her sisters back to the feast.


The general absence of reproduction among worker ants (there are exceptions--vestigial evidences of the former evolutionary ability of ants to individually reproduce) makes the worker an elusive candidate for natural selection. Yet the influence of natural selection acts on the individual ant. The next installment will explore more of the connections between ant behavior, natural selection, genes and memes.

31 comments:

Tandi said...

Thank you, Peter. Pat and I enjoyed this post. He now refers to his midnight refrigerator raids as "looking for a choice item of caloric density."

We are going camping today and tomorrow. We will try your experiment.

"The Ant Bully" is an animated video you and your children might enjoy. I watched it last night. Available from Netflix.

Tandi said...

Back from Potato Creek State Park. Invigorating, scenic hiking enjoyed at peak foliage time! No ant trails observed—too cold do you think? What do ants do in the cool weather?

Pat and I did follow a narrow, ant-like trail in single file, however. It was the newly created Mountain Bike trail...complete with rocky hills and unexpected switchbacks. After a near crash, I got off and walked my bike! We saw a large, antlered buck up close. It was glorious there. The weather was perfect. Highly recommended recreational destination! (near South Bend, IN)

Any recommendations in Illinois, Wisconsin, or Kentucky for a camping/fishing/hiking/biking excursion?

Tandi said...

Here is a topic for discussion springing off of Peter’s Ant treatise.....

Headline News:

The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist.

100,000 years into the future, sexual selection could mean that two distinct breeds of human will have developed......

[Evolutionary theorist Dr Oliver Curry's] theory may strike a chord with readers who have read H G Wells' classic novel, The Time Machine, in particular his descriptions of the Eloi and the Morlock races.

In the 1895 book, the human race has evolved into two distinct species, the highly intelligent and wealthy Eloi and the frightening, animalistic Morlock who are destined to work underground to keep the Eloi happy.

More here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in_article_id=489653&in_page_id=1965

(or google human race split)


One poster at FreeRepublic quipped:

Has this guy been to a 7-11 at 3:00 A.M.? It’s already happened!!

Another said:

I for one, do not think that this is very likely. One thing that we know from human history, is that humans from different social groups always interact sexually when they are in proximity to one another. This cuts across barriers of race, culture, class or caste. Even a relatively few pairings per generation will prevent a split in the human species. The only thing that might cause such a split would be complete geographical isolation.

What are your comments??

Andrew T. said...

Hello Maureen,

The "scientist" you are referring to is a blowhard. That anyone could claim to so much as have a gleaning of the social and technological acumen of humans 1000 years from now, let alone one hundred thousand years, and remain credible in his own community, does well to highlight the potential for scientists to exemplify smug demagoguery. This dullard's faux "theory "can be dissected in nearly an infinite number of different ways. For example, who's to say that just one HUNDRED years from now, human appearance and even intellect won't be something that can be cheaply altered technologically?

Sara said...

Hello Tandi,

Thank you for asking.

The evolution of hominids argues against the scenario posited by Curry. Hominid paleo-history is characterized by diversity. Even as recent as 50,000 years ago there were at least four varieties of hominids in vogue: homo neanderthalis, homo sapies, homo sapiens sapiens, and homo florenseis. Roughly 500,000 years ago homo erectus and several australopithecines were present. If representative pairs of these taxons were to have met for lunch at a bar, a modern homo sapiens sapiens would have felt she was at the Star Wars bar (minus light sabers yet with saber-tooth threats) with such a diversity of morphologies, etc.

For a number of reasons not agreed upon by anthropologists, homo sapiens sapiens is the only hominid taxon in vogue today. All other hominds have apparently gone extinct. The last neanderthalis went extinct as recently as 10,000 years before present and the florenseis was on the stage, albeit backstage, even more recently.

I believe that the same reasons for the success of the sapiens sapiens (which is different than just sapiens) will be the reasons for the demise of our species. I agree with you Tandi that there is little room for specialization in our modern gene pool. Genes are being mixed and dispersed at an incredible rate. It is estimated now, for example, that such unique phenotypes as red hair, which is based on a recessive genotype, will disappear from the scene within one hundred years.

Homo sapiens sapiens is only successful in a most limited scope. Our perceived transcendence over nature, i.e., the manner in which we view ourselves as separate and superior to nature, will also lead to the demise of our precious planets ecosystems. We are experiencing a global mass extinction more akin to the Permian-Triassic than the Cretaceous-Tertiary transition. Our treatment of this plant will eventually result, I believe, in our extinction. I am very pessimistic.

Tandi said...

Hello Sara,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Just to clarify...I did not give my opinion in that piece. The comments were those of readers of Free Republic where I found the article being discussed.

Pessimistic? Don’t worry. My son, Dave, had this to say (he reads this blog sometimes):

“Thankfully, Algore has crawled out of the primordial soup of humanity to rescue the planet before it's too late!

P.S. Neanderthals still exist and they now have a sitcom on Tuesday nights.”

(Dave also expressed to me that he was impressed with your intelligence evident in your commentary...though he does not agree with your conclusion. He once was heavy into Evolution himself.)

Here’s something that will cheer you up and cause you to rejoice if you respond to it the way I did...go to iTunes and download the song Days of Elijah/Kadosh by Paul Wilbur. If you don’t have the 99 cents, being a “poor college student,” send me your address and I will send you a donation. You need to return to the LORD, as does Peter. There is no joy in the bleak world of agnosticism because there is no relationship with our Creator and True Friend, Who walked in the Garden with Adam (real person) and desires to walk with us in friendship...if only we would believe Him instead of listening to the lies of the enemy of our souls and immersing ourselves in faithless propaganda.

More later as I find time. We have a controversy at the other forum with Dan being expelled from class and his name blotted out. Now my TWO friends wear the designation “banned” under their names. I may be next. Maybe I should get some “BANNED” tee-shirts printed up for us to wear. : )


Andrew, I hope to have a response for you later today. I appreciate your always interesting contributions to the discussions.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

I like the new look!

Can’t say I like the new link (Price). Recommended by Jamie I presume. Prompts me to post this:


Understanding Atheism
By Mike S. Adams
Monday, October 29, 2007
Author’s Note: Special thanks to Amy, Brad, Mike, and the Free-Thought Society at Clemson University.

I declared myself an agnostic in 1983 and stayed that way until I declared myself an atheist in 1992. The road from Christianity to atheism and back to Christianity was – with my apologies to Beatles fans – long and winding. It took many years to travel.

The decision to major in psychology was one of many factors that led to my decision to leave the church. Not many psychology departments have more atheists than the nearest philosophy department. But many come close. And the way the discipline of psychology approaches religion is likely to lead some students astray.

I recall quite well my first exposure to Freud and his ideas about the Oedipus complex. I became well-schooled in his ideas about man’s compelling psychological need to create a God in his own image – to resolve various feelings of guilt flowing from childhood trauma. I was so captivated by these ideas that I read “Moses and Monotheism,” “Totem and Taboo,” and “The Future of an Illusion” in my spare time. Each took me further away from God.

B.F. Skinner had a similar impact on my thinking. The principles of operant conditioning were not always used to explain religion away. Strict behaviorists seldom have a compelling need to “look inside the black box” or, in other words, analyze unobservable thoughts. But these principles do provide a ready explanation for those convinced that man created God, not vice versa. I was so captivated by Skinner that I read “Walden Two” and “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” in my spare time. These books pushed me further in the direction of atheism.

The notion that psychology might provide an explanation for atheism – rather than theism - never really occurred to me during my years as a psychology student (from 1983 until 1989 when I received my M.S. in psychology). But, in March of 1989, a woman named Martha Hamilton – the mother of my “second mother” Lisa Chambers – responded to my praise of B.F. Skinner and the behaviorists with the following comment: “It just sounds like a bunch of people trying to get out of serving God.”

I must confess that I thought Mrs. Hamilton was just a simple-minded fundamentalist. Now, I realize that she was right and I was wrong.

If psychologists were really interested in the fair and balanced treatment of religion they would see the obvious connection between cognitive dissonance theory and atheism. And, of course, they would discuss it in their classes in conjunction with the application of Freudian and Skinnerian theories seeking to explain religion away.

In the 1950s and 1960s, psychologists like Eliot Aronson began to suggest that behavior sometimes causes attitudes rather than vice versa. In the wake of this discussion, cognitive dissonance became a popular psychological theory. Put simply, it spoke to the issue of how beliefs sometimes emerge from a tension between certain cognitive elements.

For example, if a person is cognizant of the fact that smoking causes cancer, he will experience dissonance when he thinks about the fact that he is a smoker. He may be inclined to adopt other beliefs like “They will probably find a cure for cancer before I get it.” He may develop powerful, even silly, rationalizations like “I’ll quit next year” or “It does not matter because the world could end tomorrow in a nuclear holocaust” or “I could be hit by a car tomorrow so I might as well smoke today.”

Because Christianity is sometimes a demanding religion, it, too, may create a good deal of cognitive dissonance. For example, the declaration “I am a Christian” can sometimes clash with the awareness that “Christians are supposed to tithe” or “Christians are supposed to love their enemies.”

I have seen people who began tithing to the church and loving their enemies upon converting to Christianity. But that is not how it always ends for the converted Christian. Like me, many other Christians have resolved the tension by, at least temporarily, deciding to abandon the Way. Sometimes it is simply easier to say “I am not a Christian.”

Those who become agnostic or atheist often say that it was due to an intellectual journey or an intellectually honest re-appraisal of childhood faith. But, as my mentor David L. McMillen used to say, “People rarely understand their own motivations.”

I believe that cognitive dissonance theory helps people better understand their own motivations. I believe it has helped me to understand my fall from Christianity, which, thankfully ended with a return to the church.

But the theory might also explain why it took me so long to get back to church. I abandoned atheism on March 7th of 1996. But I did not return to the church until October of 2000. The reason for the delay was simple: I was ashamed.

As I imagined myself walking back into a church, I also imagined people thinking and, perhaps, even saying “What is Mike Adams doing here at church?” But I made it back and my life continues to be blessed as I walk further with Jesus every day.

I can understand the dissonance that is felt by the young woman who wrote to me last week telling of her multiple suicide attempts in the wake of a battle with manic depression. She says she cannot seem to get out of bed on Sundays because of the shame she feels for the harm she has tried to inflict upon herself. She needs to hear from confessing and humble Christians who say they desperately want her back regardless of what she’s done.

I often wonder why we speak of the atheists as if they are our enemies. And I wonder whether that should matter if we call ourselves Christians. I hope this column will inspire some cognitive dissonance, for the writer and the reader alike. And I hope the tension will be resolved with love, which is the best cure for dissonance, or, for that matter, anything else.


Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel: Confessions of a Conservative College Professor.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MikeSAdams/2007/10/29/understanding_atheism?page=full&comments=true

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

I found this link on my own. It was not referred by Jamie. I do not know if Jamie is aware of this person.

I recommend Prices' materials. He is a critical thinker with a conservative theological background. His perspective reflects intimate, experiencial awarness of the complexities of fundamentalist religiosity.

The new look more closely reflects me--nature boy as I have often been called. I am sure that my ancestors must have had an incredible fondess for beetles and such....and so must God for there are more beetle species than any other insect. :-)

Tandi said...

Hello Andrew,

I pretty much agree with your statements above. The article did mention the likelihood that people will be cosmetically altered. The elite will all be Barbie and Ken dolls apparently. Yuk. It also mentioned that people would have receding chins due to a diet of processed food and that dependence on technology will eventually cause decline of the species.

As you say, the speculation is ridiculous. Yet it is just as ridiculous to suppose we can know what happened 50,000 years ago or 5 million years ago. We can only know true science, true history, and true special revelation from God.

On another subject, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Noachide movement. Apparently Brian T and friends are becoming Noachides and causing some controversy and consternation. I listened to D. Lancaster’s audio, Sons of Noah, and thought he had some good points. I thought he wisely handled the concerns. Available at the Beth Immanuel site. One of the members of our forum stated that he plans to move clear across the country to join Aterat Yeshua.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

Nature Boy? So was Yeshua. I was just reading that He spent many nights on the Mount of Olives camping out under the starry skies.

You would have loved being where I walked the other day. You should drive out there sometime. It’s not that far. Great place to walk, jog, cross country ski, etc. I love the Quaking Aspen trees by the meandering stream this time of year. I am more into trees than beetles and would like to learn to identify more of them. Something in the woods was very fragrant that day and I don’t know what it was.

Yes, Jamie is aware of Price.

I need to answer his email. I was hoping by this time that YOU would be witnessing to him to return to the LORD from Infidel Land. Things are taking longer than I anticipated. I hope it is not years like the testimony above. Regardless, I will still be hoping and praying. There are many things wrong with man’s religions, yet the Bible remains true. Maybe “The Gospel of the Kingdom” has yet to be purified and preached in all the world. I was happy to see that you listed the Bible at the top of your favorite book list. I hope that means you are reading it.

So when will you write Nature articles for publication? In all your spare time? : (
Looks like I’m going to be doing some editing for Dan. He’s busy writing a book.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

Fundamentalist epistemologies present significant analogies to Gnostic epistemologies. Both give foremost priority to spiritual revelation or spiritual gnosis. Such revelation or gnosis-knowledge is the only true knowledge, and everything that disagrees in appearance with this gnosis is fictional, an illusion.

The fundamentalist faces facts that feud against the faith—her schema is challenged. Rather than accommodate her schema to the facts, she foils the facts through epistemological fantasy—accommodating the facts to the schema. The fundamentalist reasons: “All truth is God’s truth, but the only truth that we can really know is that which is from the Bible (i.e., spiritual gnosis).” The fundamentalist fails to realize that the integrity of “biblical truth” is only as inerrant as her interpretation of the text, but that is of little importance because she has the “internal witness” of the non-physical source of all true spiritual gnosis—the Spirit.

The age of the Earth and the dating of various particulars of earth history are settled on a macro level. There is no reasonable objection to the multitude of dating methods now in vogue. Honest fundamentalist creationists acknowledge their inability to explain the realities as they hope, and have been hoping for over fifty years, for a miraculous dues ex machina intervening discovery to clear them of their ad hoc speculations.

The approach that you take to the age of the Earth and particulars of its history are epistemologically parallel to the approach of the Gnostic. There are no epistemological differences. The fundamentalist will attempt to differentiate her source of true, spiritual gnosis. She will claim, for example, the bogus bigotry that the Bible is the bona fide basis of truth, yet the rationale or apologia for this claim is lacking independent, outside verification. The source of gnosis is itself the proof of gnosis.

I agree with the fundamentalist creationists in several regards. First, I agree with them that Genesis is meant to be taken literally (e.g., literal seven-day creation, literal Flood, literal tower of Babel, etc.). Though I do believe that foreign mythology informed the compositions of Genesis, I do not doubt that the original recipients and writers viewed the stories as a correct history. Second, I agree that if the events or chronologies of Genesis are shown to be historically incorrect, then biblical epistemologies loose footing and begin the descent down the proverbial slippery slope of unbelief.

Genesis is fiction. It is mythology. It stands up to neither history nor science. Elevating the gnosis of genesis so that it eclipses factual realities is fine if one wants to be ignorant (lacking gnosis). People prefer the comforts of ignorance—that is part of human religiosity and basic to human nature. Fundamentalism in all of its flavors will not fade away unless the selective pressures of evolution somehow find a way to outsmart and slay the gods of ethereal gnosis.

Andrew T. said...

Hello Tandi,

Did Peter put you to sleep again? Me too. Alright, to your questions.

"As you say, the speculation is ridiculous."

Indeed. Whatever "scientist" this man is, the arrogance and indeed anti-science inherent in this man's psychic (psychotic?) predictions of what humanity could even possibly be like in 100 thousand years, including even its very survival, cannot be derived from any serious scientific data, only his active imagination.

"Yet it is just as ridiculous to suppose we can know what happened 50,000 years ago or 5 million years ago. We can only know true science, true history, and true special revelation from God."

Not correct. PREDICTING FUTURE OUTCOMES from insufficient evidence, as this "scientist" attempts, is nothing like hard science. That man had no concrete set of incremental knowns to guess his unknown; he was literally pulling most of the variables out of thin air. His prediction was neither testable, nor measurable; at the very kindest, his prediction was a thought experiment with insufficient data. Conversely, studying evolution and natural history is quintessentially scientific, because the observer is merely MEASURING static variables. Carbon dating is hard science. Mollusk fossils aren't going anywhere; heck, pick one up off the beach and measure the diameter if you want to. Science can be most purely defined as the measurement or recording of all of the properties of the natural world that can be quantifiably measured and tested in a controlled environment. Sure, astrophysicists still have their verbal skirmishes over minute details, such as how many fractions of a nanosecond the big bang can be mathematically calculated to have taken place, or the nature of gravity, but the EXISTENCE of these phenomena is completely in sync with all of the natural evidence that has ever been available for our study.

You position can only suggest that you believe people are feeble morons totally unable to reckon or quantify the natural world. The ultra-Protestant 6 days/6000 years explanation is to natural history what the ancient phlogestan explanation is to the nature of fire.

"On another subject, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Noachide movement. Apparently Brian T and friends are becoming Noachides and causing some controversy and consternation. I listened to D. Lancaster’s audio, Sons of Noah, and thought he had some good points. I thought he wisely handled the concerns. Available at the Beth Immanuel site. One of the members of our forum stated that he plans to move clear across the country to join Aterat Yeshua."

Am I a Noakhide? Per se, yes I am, in that I am a gentile who has met that minimal set of rules in order to study and eventually apply the the teachings of Orthodox Judaism and have contact with an observant Jewish community, which happens to be the ONLY historical application for the "Noakhide laws" until they were falsely re-defined in the middle ages in response to gentile persecutions. Am I part of the "Noachide movement" as generally understood? No, I am not. The modern Noachide movement ascertains the ancient Sheva Mitzwot Benei-Noakh as a way for gentiles to enter ha-Olam ha-Ba without keeping Torah. And apart from all that, the modern movement is just very, very strange. You'd think if those people were so interested in the theology of Orthodox Judaism, they would actually keep Torah and convert instead of starting cults. "Ben-Noakh" doesn't even mean a keeper of the Noakhide commandments; it refers to all gentiles in general. Sadly, the late seventh Rebbe of Khab"d probably had no idea that this movement is what would come of his teachings.

I'm am unsure what Mr. Tebbitt is doing as of late, but if it has anything to do with "Ateret Yeshua", some other "Messianic congregation", or any other contra-Torah establishment for that matter, I assure you that it has my disapproval. There is no Orthodox Judaism divorced from Orthodox community; the two are synonyms. Din requires the Beit. Talmid requires the Rav. The Seipher Torah requires the Sopheir, if only to scribe it according to Halakha, which, oh yes, requires contact with the experienced teacher (that is, the Rav). The way of Rut is the only way. If someone, ANYONE, claims to be a part of the only observant Judaism that exists today (that is, Pharisaic=Rabbinic), but cannot or will not document beyond reasonable doubt that he is a member in good standing in such a community and prays in one of its establishments, they are acting as a liar and a Satan (fraudster/polemicist).

Talk to you later.

Andrew T. said...

Peter and Sara,

Enjoy this quiz:

geocraft.com/WVFossils/GlobWarmTest/start.html

Daniel said...

Peter, you wrote:

There is no reasonable objection to the multitude of dating methods now in vogue. Honest fundamentalist creationists acknowledge their inability to explain the realities as they hope, and have been hoping for over fifty years, for a miraculous dues ex machina intervening discovery to clear them of their ad hoc speculations.


Read "The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods" John Woodmorrape.
He's as honest as they come, and he acknowledges no inability to explain the fallacies of so called modern dating methods.

Truly, Peter, which honest creationists are you talking about?
No any that I know.

PeterS said...

Hello Daniel,

I have the book which you refer to. I tried to convince myself with his rhetoric, but came up dry after each feeding. I was unable to quench the thirst I had for reason and logic in his work.

Honest creationists:
Wise acknowledges the challenges posed by dating methods. He concedes that young-earth creationists are very far away from explaining the evidences.

Humphreys also acknowledges the problems with young-earth creationist attempts to explain the data. He invents ad hoc scenarios such as accelarated nuclear decay during the Flood while yet acknowledging the heat problem that would be produced by such a scenario. In reply to the ad hoc accelarated nuclear decay scenario, he invents another ad hoc scenario to deal with the heat: the expanding, self-cooling universe. It is one ad hoc after another.

There are other creationists that can be added to those referred to above. Epistemologicaly they acknowledge that the Bible (or their interpretation of it) holds more sway for them than the evidence from the natural world. They concede that the evidence from the natural world outweighs that of their models, yet they choose to believe because their belief systems require such belief.

I have always been aggravated by some of the so-called evidences against radio-metric dating. For example, evidences for lack of nuclear decay are posited in the existence of C-14 in ancient coal yet the same wanton apologists argue for accelarated nuclear decay for *every* other radiometrically measurable scale. Again, it is ad hoc after ad hoc. Deal with the facts, and embrace the realities.

Andrew T. said...

Hello Peter,

Did you take the quiz?

Tandi said...

Hello Andrew,

You asked:

"Did Peter put you to sleep again? Me too."

Never! I'm still his biggest literary fan. I enjoy most everything he writes, even when there is much to disagree about. I expect he will be a published author someday....I just hope I can support what he writes about. Hopefully, tomes that devastatingly refute atheists, agnostics, and evolutionists. : )

I will also enjoy his children's nature book series.

I took your Global Warming Quiz. Very interesting!

You write well yourself, Andrew. What college are you attending? What are your career plans?

Andrew T. said...

Hello Tandi,

You hope that Peter will go on to write books that attack credible and well established science (evolutionary theory, or actually law according to the latest textbooks)?

My major at Western Kentucky University here where I live is Political Science; my career path, I expect, will at least loosely relate to that major. My minor is Computer Science, because being employed is nice too. :)

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

What aspects of evolutionary theory do I disagree with? I do not attack science. In fact, I tend to heavily prioritize science over religion to the point of negating religion. Please explain.

Andrew T. said...

Hello Peter,

You got up quite early to read my post, didn't you? Early enough to miss the whole gist of it?

Tandi said she hopes you go on to write books that "devastatingly refute" evolutionary theory, and I answered what!? You hope he goes on to write books that attack science!?

Do you get it?

PeterS said...

Andrew,

sorry, I am a caffene junky. I have enough in my system at the moement to catch the drift.

todah

Andrew T. said...

I would advise staying off of caffeine, if you can manage it. It can be a good pick-me-up but the side effects can be unpleasant when you don't get the right amounts. It's also not too easy on the digestive system or your blood pressure.

Hot tea is a great lo-caff alternative. I am a drinker.

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

I find that individual metabolism makes a big difference in how one responds to caffene. I, for example, can typically fall asleep at any hour of the day after drinking coffee. I find, also, that coffee calms me down while also sharpening my wit and senses. Others find that coffee makes them jittery and nervous while affecting them for hours.

People with metabolic protein proclivities, like myself, seem to metabolize caffene quickly. People with more leanings toward carbohydrates tend to be more affected by the same. I find that caffein (if I can figure out the spelling) does not cause any harm to my health. In fact, I prefer to start my morning work outs with a large cup of coffee.

Daniel said...

Peter,
I will comment on what you said that I know all the facts. I will assume based on your failure at the points I know about that the rest of your points are faulty.

You said, "He invents ad hoc scenarios such as accelarated nuclear decay during the Flood while yet acknowledging the heat problem that would be produced by such a scenario."

Humphreys would never own your charge that accelearated decay is ad hoc. It's not ad hoc because the RATE research strongly supports this hypothesis. Sure there is the answered heat question, but it doesn't invalidate the RATE research. My point is that you have clearly presented Humprehy's conclusion in a dishonest light by sandwitching it with an unanswered question that has no bearing on the evidence for accelerated decay.

I also offer your own admission of your cavalier attitutde to telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

What you have is a spirit of prevarication that makes any kind of enduring relationship hazardous to the buyer.

PeterS said...

Daniel,

If you accept RATE "research" as conclusive, then this discussion will go no where. You are entrenched. I have left the trench.

RATE "findings" are wishful thinking. The methodologies and findings have been exposed for the fraud that they are. RATE means Ridiculous Aspirations of the Tenuously Evasive. The researchers evade the very findings that their poppycock demonstrates: young-earth creationism is dead....so is god....and so is jesus...dead and long gone and ready to take his place among the forgone of Olympus.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

You have left the trench for the pit! What are you so angry about? I have never seen you so angry. Of course, I have never even seen you. Why do I care so much about someone I have never met in person? If there is no God, how do you explain my faithful and on-going concern for you? Nevermind, in your present mood I don't think I would like your answer. It's a good thing His love reaches even to the depths of the pit you are in. Call upon Him. He has not given up on you...and neither have I.

Daniel said...

Peter,

First I rebuke the spirit of deceit. That's so you can listen to this.

I'm sure you have heard of Pascal's wager. If you wager that God exists, and he does, then you win. If you wager that he exists and He does not, then you are no worse off. But if you wager that he does not exist, and He does, then you loose everything. Now you are saying you are an athiest rather than an agnostic. I refer to the "god is dead" statement. A wise man never gambles against God. You can only loose.
That was a tasty bit of namecalling in your last post. Very creative I should say. It's so beyond the pale that all I can do is laugh.
I will say one thing about sin though. There is no "go back and undo" with regard to sin. Not even God can make it so that it never happend. Yet God is like a Father who loves a naughty son that wants to repent. He was angry enough to destroy the child, but instead he put his fist through the wall (so to speak) instead of injuring the child. The sad thing is that some naughty children still want to keep wrecking things. Meanwhile, God has his fist raised hoping that He doesn't have to land it on the child.

PeterS said...

Hello Dan,

Paschal’s wager does not work well in light of the diversity of religions available. What if one chooses to worship God as YHWH and yet finds out that God prefers worship as Allah? What if the reverse is true? The integrity of Paschal’s wager crumbles in light of religious plurality. I could easily construe Paschal’s wager with denominationally-specific criterion. For example:

I wager that Jesus-only Pentecostalism is the only true religion acceptable by God. If this wager is correct, I win. Now, if I wager that Jesus-only Pentecostalism is not the only true religion acceptable to God, and it is not, then I am no worse off for not accepting it. Then, if I wager that Jesus-only Pentecostalism is bogus later to find out that I was wrong (i.e., it is God’s only path), then I loose everything.

As demonstrated by this example, Paschal’s wager is a poor evidence for the existence of God. Oddly, too, this “evidence” is based on the lowest level of human developmental morality: the fear of punishment or the fear of getting caught. The underlying aim of Paschal’s wager is the need to avoid punishment (e.g., “loose everything”). Quite frankly, I would be willing to “loose everything” in the interest of intellectual satiety. I would rather be morally driven by altruism and in honest pursuit of intellectual integrity than be driven by a short-sighted wager founded on the fear of getting roasted in hell by a sadistic god.

I have not made an official “change” to atheism. I certainly am an agnostic. I would like to believe in a personal God, and so part of me clings to such an affection, a crutch. Yet, I am unwilling to claim that such a theism is evidenced based. I see enough explanatory power in natural selection and evolution to explain the existence of the universe, galaxies, stars, and life. In fact, this explanatory power also explains the etiology of belief in God, i.e., evolution explains why humans believe in God and gods. This last statement, though, does not negate the existence of God, but it certainly removes a final gap from my repertoire of god-filled vacuums.

When I say that “god is dead” I am not claiming atheism. This statement has more to do with the rigidity of conventional theisms than with an assertion of atheism. A dead god is god trapped in the straight jacked of inscripturated memes, etc.

Daniel said...

Peter,

"Paschal’s wager does not work well in light of the diversity of religions available."

Is this intellectually honest? Not at all, because in admitting a God, these religions are all closer to the probability of a risk (fear) free truth than not. If you cant decide which one is right, then choose one at random, and you will be more right than you were before with agnosticism.

I see you Peter as one who does not pay any attention to real probabilities. You are confused by lying and being lied to, but you should be able to see that the probability of my chronology being consistent by chance is less than 1 in 10E-50. And no other religon comes close to providing a consistent history. Pascal's wager can be reapplied all the way up the ladder of truth.
And the beginning of wisdom IS the fear of the LORD. You should start being afraid Peter. It is not intellectual honesty to kill your emotions of fear and not respond to them. Fear of jumping into the abyss is healthy. It keeps a man from destroying himself, yet you jumped of. Just look at the trail of destructive consequences you've suffered, and the one's coming your way. Surly, you would'nt call that good, yet it was you that decided to let them happen.
I would say that the reason you could not get along with your ex is that you did not fear God enough to deal with the grudge against her that you help for a long time. You let it grow. You found no forgiveness in your heart. You hated her. Don't you see that you need delieverance from hate? And you gave into hate because you didn't fear God enough to deal with it!? And even if you are an agnostic, you should see that your hateful actions are wrong, and that hate is not good. For this reason I cannot credit you with intellectual honesty.

PeterS said...

Dan,

Whatever....

But, I would be interested in discussing details about your chronology. I will try to post first. No promises as all is time contigent.

Daniel said...

Hi Peter,

O.K. I'm up to it. Do you remember the book I wrote, "The righteousness of God"? I've improved it quite a bit -- taken out a lot of Messianic packaging, and gotten to the bottom of Paul's message with Hab. 2:4. I consider it the theological equivalent to deciphering the biblical chronology. As such it is a consistent explaination of Paul with the principles of Torah, and I would offer it as evidence that much of the confusion in the NT can be straightened out. I know that you already knew that this was partly true.
You might find the beating I give John Calvin and Martin Luther entertaining. I am willing to send you a copy. Send me an address where you can receive it if you like. My email is daniel749@earthlink.net.